King’s Lynn Festival concerts remember Vaughan Williams

Lesley Garrett
Lesley Garrett

King’s Lynn is proud of its associations with composer Ralph Vaughan Williams so it is fitting that 60 years after he conducted a Festival concert in St Nicholas’ Chapel his music will be featured in four events at this year’s event.

Vaughan Williams famously collected folk songs in Lynn pubs so it is wholly appropriate that his English Folk Song Suite should be included in the opening concert by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra at the Corn Exchange on Sunday, July 17.

Two days later, King’s Lynn Festival Chorus will be in St Nicholas’ Chapel to present their concert, Vaughan Williams in Lynn.

As well as his Five Mystical Songs and Three Shakespeare Songs they will perform the premiere of a special arrangement of Norfolk Folk Songs by Toby Young.

The four songs were collected in 1905 and are a sample of the folk song repertoire Vaughan Williams heard during visits to the Tilden Smith pub, later the Retreat, and to the North End and St James workhouse.

Two of the songs are included in Vaughan Williams’ Norfolk Rhapsodies.

The programme will also include Lux Aeterna, a choral arrangement of Elgar’s Nimrod Variation, John Rutter’s Birthday Madrigals, and exciting and accessible settings of Shakespeare songs and sonnets by the famed jazz pianist George Shearing.

Composer Toby Young and his work will also feature in the Contemporary Consort event on Monday, July 18, when Vaughan Williams’ Studies in English Folk Song will be performed.

Lesley Garrett’s wide-ranging programme at the Corn Exchange on Sunday, July 24, will include Vaughan Williams’ Sky Above the Roof and The Vagabond.

She will also sing classical favourites and numbers from great musicals.

Call the box office at the Corn Exchange on 01553 764864.